Karlsson

Swede dreams: Sweden advances to gold medal final with win over Finland

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Sweden is headed to its first Olympic gold medal final since 2006 thanks to Friday’s 2-1 win over Finland at the Bolshoy Ice Dome.

In a methodical, defensive affair, the Swedes received goals from Loui Eriksson and Erik Karlsson — Karlsson’s now tied with Phil Kessel for the tournament scoring lead — while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 25 of 26 shots for the win.

The goals came after Finland opened the scoring 6:17 into the second period, when Olli Jokinen squeaked one past Lundqvist from a bad angle.

“I think it was a chess match more than the intense battle we all expected,” Sweden’s Daniel Alfredsson told CBC’s Elliotte Friedman following the game.

In terms of atmosphere, the game had an odd feel. Finland defeated the host Russians to get into the semifinal matchup, and that may have contributed to a quiet, less-than-capacity crowd at the Bolshoy. That said, the Finns and Swedes still engaged in a feisty affair born from geography and a long history of high-stakes international competition (Sweden bested Finland for gold at the ’06 games in Turin.)

Finland had trouble utilizing its speed throughout Friday’s game and will no doubt rue its missed opportunities, especially on the power play. The Finns went 0-for-5 on the day, which was a tournament-long issue — they only scored three power play goals in Sochi, two coming in a tournament-opening 8-4 rout over Austria. The Finns will likely also wonder what life would’ve been like with No. 1 netminder Tuukka Rask in goal; he fell ill prior to the game and was replaced by Dallas’ Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 23 of 25 shots.

As for Sweden, it continued the theme of finding ways to win.

Though the team hasn’t been dominant in any of its victories — the 5-0 win over Slovenia in the quarters was deceiving, as the Sweden only led 1-0 going into the third — it has continually gotten the job done and remains the only undefeated Olympic squad to have won all its games in regulation.

Sweden is also now 11-1 in its last 12 Olympic games, dating back to its gold medal-winning performance in ’06.

Rangers get good news on McDonagh, bad news on Nash

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Some good news/bad news for the Rangers.

Exactly one week after suffering a concussion against the Philadelphia Flyers, defenseman Ryan McDonagh returned to the ice with his teammates this morning.

The Rangers captain was wearing a non-contract jersey, but “looked good” according to coach Alain Vigneault.

McDonagh was hurt after taking a punch to the head from Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds (above).

The 26-year-old has missed each of his team’s last three games since suffering the injury.

McDonagh hasn’t been cleared for contact, but that could happen in the next few days according to Vigneault.

The news wasn’t as good for forward Rick Nash, who’s been dealing with a bone bruise in his leg.

Nash has missed each of New York last eight game’s and Vigneault admitted that he’s no longer considered day-to-day.

He’ll miss at least another week.

Video: Blandisi scores great between-the-legs goal vs. Flyers

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What a story Joseph Blandisi‘s been for the New Jersey Devils this season.

The 21-year-old played in his first NHL game on Dec. 11 and has stayed with the Devils ever since.

It took him five games to pick up his first career point, but he’s done a whole lot more damage since then.

Blandisi came into Saturday’s action with 10 points in his last 12 games and he added to that against the Flyers.

He opened the scoring with this beautiful between-the-legs goal on goalie Michal Neuvirth (top of the page).

That’s Blandisi’s fourth goal of the season.

Some Twitter reaction to the goal:

Bruins’ Bergeron ruled out for Saturday’s game against Wild

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The Boston Bruins will be without center Patrice Bergeron in Saturday afternoon’s matinee against the Minnesota Wild.

It’s unclear how Bergeron suffered the undisclosed injury, but there’s reason to believe it occurred after he dropped the gloves with Jets forward Blake Wheeler (above).

He’s considered day-to-day at this point.

Losing him for an extended period of time would be devastating for Boston.

“You don’t like seeing your star players (fight), but you also understand that it’s an emotional game and that stuff happens and at one point a player says, ‘Enough is enough and I’m going to stand up for myself,’” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said after the game, as per the Boston Herald.

“From what I gathered there was a lot of slashes behind the legs behind the play and stuff like that. He took things upon himself. As much as you don’t like it, you can’t tell him he’s not allowed. He’s a big boy and he can certainly make some decisions on the ice. And it’s not the first time that he’s fought. But I like the fact that he doesn’t fight much.”

After this incident, there’s no doubt that the Bruins will tell Bergeron to keep his gloves on from now on.

Jets will take one more crack at re-signing Andrew Ladd

Winnipeg Jets' Andrew Ladd (16) and Blake Wheeler (26) celebrate Ladd's goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL action in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. (John Woods/The Canadian Press via AP)
Associated Press
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Jets captain Andrew Ladd still doesn’t have a contract for next season and with the Feb. 29 trade deadline approaching, something’s gonna have to give.

According to TSN’s Gary Lawless, the Winnipeg Jets will make one last push to sign the forward before making him available on the trade market.

Ladd doesn’t want to leave and the team wants to keep him, but after Dustin Byfgulien got an extension earlier this month, there may not be enough money to go around.

At one point, the Jets reportedly made Ladd a six-year offer worth $6 million per year, which he obviously didn’t accept.

Can they top that? Time will tell.

Waiting to trade Ladd is probably the smartest decision.

Keeping the captain around would be great, but if the two sides can’t agree to a new contract, there’ll be no shortage of suitors for Ladd’s services.

Lawless mentions the Penguins, Panthers and Blackhawks as potential landing spots for the 30-year-old.

The Kings have also been mentioned as a potential destination for Ladd.

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will have to make some crucial decisions over the next few weeks.